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The Velvick-Clear Lake Reunion Part II: An Interview with Byron - Sticking with Swimbaits


Date: 3/22/10
Location: Clear Lake, BASS Golden State Shootout
Event Date: 3/18-3/21/10
Reviewer: Leo

Byron Velvick may be one of the most recognizable names in the sport of fishing today. He’s had several ESPN(2) shows including his current show Going Coastal which airs early Sunday mornings.  He was also the ABC Show “The Bachelor” many years ago which really helped the sport of bass fishing gain some national recognition and made Byron a household name in and outside of fishing homes.


We were on hand for Day 3 and 4 of the event watching Byron work his spot


In Part I we covered Byron’s win in 2000 and how he was on his way to repeating the feet in 2010. Byron was able to hold on to the victory on day 4 and bested 97 of the best in the sport by more than 6 pounds, bringing the trophy back to California.  “I am a California Native and this is for California”, Byron let the thousands in attendance at Library Park in Lakeport California.


The ESPN helicopter hovers overhead to get aerial shots


Byron led the event wire to wire after taking a day 1 lead with a 29 lb 0 ounce bag of fish to the scales on Thursday. He was the one of only three anglers in the field to bring over 20 pounds to the scales each day of the event. He backed his 29 pound bag up with bags of 22 pounds, 24 pounds 8 ounces and 22 pounds 14 ounces for a total of 20 fish for 98 pounds 6 ounces. That’s a remarkable near 5 pound average per fish for the four day event.


On the final day Byron continues to relentlessly toss the BV3D swimbait


Besides now being the king of Clear Lake and the king of the swimbait, Byron is also one of the nicer more approachable guys in the sport. Byron was one of the last people at the event and he was even seen giving kids rides on his boat (using his trolling motor) in the marina area.  From the whole Tackle Tour Team, congrats on the win Byron!


Byron was nice enough to answer a few of our questions after the event.


Keeping a good distance the crowd watches and cheers Byron on


Leo: What were some of the similarities and differences from your record setting 2000 victory and the 2010 victory at Clear Lake?


BV: The area was identical but, in 2000 the fish were more active and you could almost call your shots.  In 2010, I had to really slow down because the water was colder than in 2000 and the fish were less active.  I understood the area much better in 2010. After seeing the area during many other times of the year (in the years since 2000) I had a mental image of the area and could fish it better.


Byron shows us the bait he used all day long


In 2000, I used a heavy Basstrix bait and fished it fast because the fish were very active in the warmer water. In 2010, I needed a bait that I could fish slower. With the Rago BV 3D I could fish it slower with what I call a hover technique.


At the weigh in Bill Lowen and Byron wait for the final numbers...


Leo: When did you figure out that the spot/bait combo was going to be the ticket?


BV: I was throwing the Rago BV 3D a lot because of what I like to call the hovering. On the last day of practice I rolled through there at about 9:00 AM and I knew if I could get one bite that I would start there. I saw hitch busting the surface in there and I knew the tournament was mine to lose.  I got one fish on the Rago BV 3D in there and left.


...with a total weight of 98.6 Byron wins his first Elite Series Victory


Leo: Did you ever leave the spot?


BV: On day one I left to get limit, but thank god I came back at 3:15. I rolled in and stuck a 4, 6 and 10 pounder.  It was wide open for that last 45 minutes of the day.


Byron thanks the crowd for coming out and talks about his strategy at the event


Leo: From watching you all day on Saturday I saw long periods of time with no fish.  Mentally how did that affect you?


BV: I have been fishing swimbaits for 15 years, since the early 90’s, 80’s even, and with that experience I knew it was a war of attrition. I am only looking for 8 or 9 bites a day with the bait and knew I had to stick with it. I could physically feel the fish hit fish on my retrieve. That feeling when you hit a live object is recognizable. Since I was bumping fish it kept me positive. One fish on day one I was feeling the bait bump fish and then I think I bumped a fish and it turned around and bit.


Byron shows Zander the baits he used during the week as well as his newly won hardware


Leo: Feeling the bait and the bumps like that, what equipment were you using?


BV: One of the rigs I was using was a 7’10” medium action Duckett rod with 20 pound Berkley Fluorocarbon line. The rod is not released yet, but we are releasing a junior, small, medium and large version of the rod soon. A Toro 50 5.4/1 reel, that is the best swimbait reel, its large spool for plenty of line, great drag, the 5.4/1 gear ration is key, it’s the best. For the hook I had the Owner that comes with the Rago BV 3D and I added a Owner Swimbait Harness stinger hook, size 4.  I hooked it on the bottom of the bait just behind the rear fin of the bait. The stinger hook was key, the 10 pounder and several other key fish were only hooked with the stinger hook!


Byron was extremely gracious staying to talk to every last fan, he signed just about everything from baits to a dog's T-Shirt!


Leo: Thanks for the scoop, just one last question. I saw you adding scent to the bait. Everyone wants to know what scent you were using?


BV: It was Edge's Hot Sauce.  I put that on my bait every few casts.  It created a chum trail that brought the fish to the bait, plus it acted as a lube to make the bait more slippery which helped get a better hook set.


Byron hoists the trophy in Victory. Congratulations to Byron for a big win with big baits!


Congrats to Byron on a great event, stay tuned as we check in with Big Bait Guru Jerry Rago and talk to him to get the inside scoop on the winning bait… the Rago BV 3D.


Can't wait? Looking for the BV3D Swimbait?
Check out Monster Fishing Tackle









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